When a patient starts treatment, the doctor must inform them about the procedures and any risks involved in the treatment. The process of informing the patient about the treatment, alternatives, and threats is known as informed consent. It means the doctor obtains permission from the patient to proceed with the treatment. If the doctor does not get approval or fails to warn about the risks involved, it can form grounds for a medical malpractice claim if the patient suffers injuries. Here is essential information about informed consent and how it can qualify as medical malpractice.
Informed Consent Explained
Some medical treatments and procedures come with various risks. This is why a doctor must first sit with their patient to discuss the treatment or procedure, mention the risks and give alternatives. The patient can then decide whether to go on with the treatment or not. When the doctor provides the information to get an agreement from the patient, it is known as obtaining informed consent. Unless it is an emergency where the patient cannot consent or is unconscious, the doctor must provide a form that the patient must fill out to show approval and that they are aware of the risks involved in the proposed treatment or procedure. However, signing the form is not enough. The medical practitioner must educate the patient about the treatment, explain the risks and what they mean, and ensure they understand everything. If you think you or your loved one suffered because of something you were not briefed on during the treatment, hire a South Carolina medical malpractice lawyer to help you build a case. The doctor will be liable for malpractice if you did not agree with the procedure or were unaware of the risks involved.
Exemptions to Informed Consent
There are exemptions when informed consent is not mandatory or required before treating a patient. The main exemption is in an emergency when the doctor does not have time to get permission from the patient, and they must act quickly to save their life. The doctor will perform surgery or provide treatment without waiting for the patient to agree or regain consciousness if that is what it takes to save a life.
Another exemption is when the patient is in a delicate situation, and the doctors know they might refuse treatment due to distress. For instance, a doctor may perform surgery to remove a brain tumor even if there is a risk of paralysis. The decision to carry out the procedure without informed consent from the patient is justifiable if it is the only way to save a life. However, they must disclose an apparent reason for not fully disclosing the risk.
Doctors must get informed consent from the patient before a procedure as long as it does not fall under these exemptions. So, if they conduct treatment without informing the patient and getting their consent, a patient can file a medical malpractice claim if they are injured.
Speak With a South Carolina Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Suppose you suffered because your doctor did not inform you about the risks of a treatment or procedure. In that case, you could seek help from a South Carolina attorney to get justice by getting compensation for injuries and damages.